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Sep 14 / Lea Madjoff

Tips to help you start fall on the right foot

Original Source: Hello September

Provided by Ulliance
Was featured in their Wellness Wednesdays on 9/9/2015.

Back-to-school season is officially here, and if you’re feeling a bit out of shape from all of those summer indulgences (think cocktail parties, BBQs, and lots of ice cream), I’m here to help you start fall on the right foot.

  1. Every little bit counts
    People are often all or nothing when it comes to exercise, and think that if they can’t hit the gym for an hour, it’s not worth it. FALSE! Not being able to squeeze in a sweat session is not an excuse to do nothing. There are plenty of things you can do that don’t require tons of time or equipment.  Walk or park your car a little bit further than you normally would to get some extra steps in. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Do some jumping jacks during a commercial break for your favorite show. Take a walk around the block after dinner. The little things add up, so make every effort to stay active.
  2. Don’t Diet, Just Make Smart Choices
    If you’re looking to shed a few pounds, a quick fix diet might help at first, but ultimately the weight will pile back on. Fad diets are not sustainable! My philosophy when it comes to being fit and healthy is simple: Eat well, sweat often and laugh your ass off. It’s truly the magic trifecta to looking and feeling amazing without losing any of the fun along the way. Eat lean protein and veggies at breakfast, lunch and dinner, then keep the same principles with smaller portions for two snacks a day. What to do about carbs? If you’re looking to slim down, eat the starchy ones only on days you’re working out. Veggies and fruits can (and should) be enjoyed whenever you like. Most importantly, skip the fads and remember: simple is always best.
  3. Make Dining Out A Touch Healthier
    When it comes to eating out at a restaurant, the temptations are endless — think bread basket, wine, and dessert. Good news is, you can still enjoy eating out, by making a few simple changes. First, choose ONE temptation and stick to it. Want a glass of wine? Have it. But, if you are going to indulge in some vino, pass up the bread basket and stick with a decaf skim cappuccino or herbal tea for dessert.
  4. Have a Bad Day? Get Back on Track
    Often times, we have a day where our eating or exercise gets off track, and use this as an excuse to engage in an all-out eating frenzy. No one is perfect. We all have moments where we could have done better. The key is to not let one mishap capsize your entire ship. Acknowledge that you made a choice that was outside of your goals. Then, cut yourself a little slack and commit to making your very next choice a positive one that’s in line with your goals. Can’t resist some late night pizza? Sleep it off, wake up, have a big glass of water, hit the gym, and make smart choices moving forward. When you make a wrong turn, the GPS doesn’t tell you to stop and go back home. It redirects you. The same thing is true of eating and exercise. All you have to do is redirect yourself back toward the finish line.

Employ these tips and be confident in your ability to stay strong when the going gets tough (trust me, it will). Remember, just relax. Being lean, healthy and fit isn’t as complicated as most people think. Drink lots of water, eat well, and sweat often.

Aug 5 / Lea Madjoff

Want to get more out of your breaks?

Original Source:  25 ways to get more out of a five minute break by Jan Bruce

Provided by: Ulliance and was featured in their WellnBlog Post 8-5-15ess Wednesdays on 8/5/2015

Whether you work from home, in a cubicle, or at a call center, you are likely to take a few breaks during the day (rare though they may be). They may be so short and fleeting, in fact, that you’re tempted to let them pass by altogether.

Don’t do this. Why? Because there’s a lot that happens, and can happen, in the short, sweet span of a five-minute break: You can stretch your body, shift your mood, have a laugh, take a few deep breaths, or change your perspective (by looking somewhere besides your screen). The benefits of this brief respite go beyond the chance to flip through Facebook (again). Instead, you can use it to recharge your batteries, reduce the negative effects of stress, and reconnect to your sense of wellbeing.

Stumped on how to do all that in a short break? Here are 25 (yes, 25!) quick ideas to rejuvenate your body, mind, and spirit. Try one or two — you’ll be better off than you were five minutes ago.

  1. Take a tech-free break. Lift your eyes off your screen(s) and check out the scene around you. Just changing your field of vision gives your brain a chance to recharge.
  2. Find a quiet corner, close your eyes, and breathe in for a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven, and exhale completely to a count of eight.
  3. Step outside and let the sun shine on your face, arms, back, or legs (sans sunscreen). The vitamin D boost is good in the moment and over time.
  4. Send a video message. Yes–you can use tech to create something meaningful. Forget text: Film yourself delivering a 30 second message, telling an audience of one how much you appreciate him.
  5. Surprise one friend with an actual phone call. No answer? Leave a fun message.
  6. Walk around and connect with as many people as you can, even if it’s brief or little more than a pat on the back.
  7. Compliment more than one person. See how many genuine kind words you can share in under five minutes.
  8. Take a brisk walk. Outside is recommended.
  9. Check your posture. This simple exercise can change how you breathe and feel: Imagine a string connected to the top of your skull, drawing you upward toward the ceiling. Feel yourself getting longer and lighter, your ribcage floating over your pelvis.
  10. Do a speed round: ten wall push-ups, ten toe touches, ten squats, and a ten-second wall sit.
  11. Choose a food that tastes really good–a sliced apple with some almond or peanut butter, for example, or a small cup of soup.
  12. Drink some water. You may not think about it much–but being dehydrated can really slow you down. Replenish your inner resources with 8 oz right now.
  13. Savor a snack. Post a pic of a snack you love on Instagram. Take a few deep breaths before diving in. As you eat, pay attention to the appearance, textures, and flavors of your food.
  14. Read that article you saw two weeks ago on Facebook and keep meaning to check out.
  15. Dip a few pages into a novel.
  16. Watch an inspirational TED talk (or part of one).
  17. Check in on a friend who’s going through a tough time. Even if it’s just a text that says you’re thinking of her.
  18. Write a list of 10 things that you are grateful for.
  19. Name two positive outcomes for every situation that has you worried.
  20. Tune into a negative thought that’s been rattling around your head all day and Trap, Map, and Zap
  21. Straighten up your workspace. You’ll clear your mind and feel more in control of your day.
  22. Do a quick purse or wallet dump. Clean out all the old gum wrappers and receipts and put back only what you really need.
  23. Brew — and sip — some tea. Never underestimate the calming ritual of even a simple tea ritual. Try a different flavor, such as lavender, chamomile, or peppermint.
  24. Find that belly laugh. Watch that dog video everyone’s been sharing lately, a clip of a great sitcom, or a few minutes of your favorite comedian’s stand-up routine.
  25. Hit play. Listen to five minutes of the most beautiful music you have at hand — the tunes that make you feel calm and positive about the world.  25 ways to get more out of a five minute break by Jan Bruce


Jul 22 / Lea Madjoff

Looking for a easy side dish recipe?

Looking for a easy side dish recipe to bring to your next White Bean Caprese Salad.bmpbarbecue? Try this White Bean Caprese Salad from

Nothing says summer like a Caprese salad, and this one is made with white beans for added protein and fiber. It’s EASY to make, and there’s no cooking required which is a bonus during these hot summer temperatures we’re having this week.

You can serve this as a side salad along with grilled fish or chicken, but this would also be great as a main dish.  Perfect to make ahead and this can easily be halved.

Servings: 6 • Size: 3/4 cup • Weight Watchers Points+: 4 pts • Calories: 142 • Fat: 4.5 g • Carb: 18 g • Fiber: 4 g • Protein: 8 g • Sugar: 2 g  • Sodium: 127 mg • Cholesterol: 12 mg


  • 1 (15-oz) can Great Northern (or White Kidney) beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp balsamic glaze


Combine beans, tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, garlic, salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and
finish with balsamic glaze.

Jun 25 / Lea Madjoff

12 ways to make a healthier summer

Original Source:  12 Healthy Swaps in Time For Summer by Dr. Lisa Young

This article was featured in Wellness Wednesday from Ulliance
Summer is here, marking a time of barbecues, outdoor eating and gatherings with family and friends. It is also means going to the beach and wearing (while also feeling comfortable in) your favorite bathing suit.  To enjoy the summer season and social gatherings that go along with it, it is important to make healthy food and lifestyle choices.  Here are several healthy — and simple — swaps to make this time a healthy season. Try to incorporate at least one swap per day and you will be on your way to a healthier summer.

1. Wake up practicing gratitude instead of complaining.  Be grateful for the good things in your life, instead of the bad things. While we can all finds things in our lives that could be better, things could also be a lot worse. Starting your day with a grateful heart opens us up to receive all of the miracles that life has to offer.

  1. Start your day with a bowl of oatmeal instead of a bowl of granola. Not only is oatmeal filling and contain fiber, it’s also lower in calories and sugar, when compared to granola. While a half cup serving of oats contains just 1 gram of sugar, many varieties of granola contain upward of 10 grams of sugar.  Oatmeal is a good source of soluble fiber, shown to reduce cholesterol levels. The type of fiber in oatmeal, beta glucans, may be particularly beneficial for heart health and also for weight control. Oatmeal also contains minerals, including magnesium and potassium, which promote heart health.
  2. Top your oatmeal with fresh blackberries instead of sugar. Blackberries taste sweet and are high in antioxidants and fiber while adding bulk to your portion of oatmeal. Sugar, on the other hand, is nothing more than empty calories
  3. Drink sparkling water instead of soda. Soda contains pure sugar, is liquid candy and a waste of calories. Swapping soda for sparkling water can save you hundreds of calories. For flavor, add a splash of lemon, lime or cucumber or throw in a few fruit flavored ice cubes (pour your favorite juice into an ice cube tray and freeze).
  4. Eat a salad made with kale instead of iceberg lettuce. In general, the darker the green, the more nutrients it contains. While iceberg lettuce is mostly water, kale is richer in nutrients and antioxidants such as folate, fiber, and vitamins A and C.
  5. Top your salad with grilled salmon instead of steak. Salmon contains heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids known to prevent blood clots and promote heart health. Red meat, including steak, on the other hand, is high in saturated fat.
  6. Toss cherry tomatoes instead of croutons into your salad.  Adding tomatoes to your salad will boost your intake of antioxidants such as lycopene and vitamin C without contributing too many calories. Croutons, on the other hand, contain few nutrients and are mostly empty calories.
  7. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Engaging in unstructured exercise such as taking the stairs or parking your car a few blocks away from where you are going is a great way to rev up your metabolism. Taking the stairs is also a great way to boost lean body mass.
  8. Snack on peanuts instead of chips. Hungry for a snack? Adding a handful of peanuts to your diet is a great way to boost your intake of healthy unsaturated fats which may benefit the brain as well as the skin. Peanuts are also rich in the antioxidant vitamin E. And even better, eating peanuts may protect against major causes of death.
  9. Eat ‘spaghetti’ primavera made with spaghetti squash instead of white pasta.  Not only will you save lots of calories by swapping pasta for spaghetti squash, the squash will also give you a healthy helping of folate, vitamin C, fiber and magnesium. And even better, you can enjoy a generous portion without having to worry about gaining weight.

    11. Enjoy fresh corn on the cob instead of mashed potatoes.
    It’s great to take advantage of produce in season. Corn on the cob is fresh and sweet while also containing a healthy dose of fiber. It is also portion controlled so it is hard to overdo it as you would mashed potatoes.
  10. Swap your salt for a dash of turmeric. Cooking with herbs and spices is a great way to reduce the amount of salt you ingest.  Turmeric in particular, not only adds a zesty flavor but it also contains anti-inflammatory properties which may promote health.


Jun 1 / Lea Madjoff

The Unique Effects of Stress on Men

Article Provided by: Ulliance, WSU’s Employee Assistance Program Provider

We all deal with stress at one time or another, most of us on a daily basis. We are constantly confronted with pressures in our lives, which in turn often leads to stress and possibly even burnout. We each develop individual levels of tolerance and our own unique ways of dealing with stress; but even so, sometimes it seems like it can be too much to handle.

 What causes stress?

Stress is a reaction to stressors: those situations and decisions with which you are confronted throughout the day, events over which you may or may not have control. Your level of stress is based on how you react or respond to the stressors in your life. Stressors can include everyday events such as rush hour traffic, work deadlines and paying bills. They can also include episodic events such as illness, job changes, or losing friends or loved ones.

Although men and women’s average stress levels may be similar, the physical and psychological toll of long-term stress on men and women is quite different.

In addition to the numerous health impacts of stress experienced by both sexes, tension and anxiety can have a unique effect on the male mind and body, starting with the immediate stress response. While stress tends to activate the “tend and befriend” response in women, men have been found to react to stress more with the aggressive “fight or flight” response.   The fight or flight response forces our bodies into “emergency mode”, which takes care of only immediate, short term needs of the body.  When anyone operates long term in the fight or flight response mode, the body suffers long term damage.

The following are some additional ways stress can affect the male body:

  1. Early Heart Disease Risk As A Result Of Inherited Stress

An extensive body of research has established that stress is a risk factor in the development of heart disease, and inherited stress can also increase the risk of early heart disease. A study at Henry Ford Hospital found that men with a family history of heart disease had a diagnosis of heart disease an average of 12 years earlier than those without a family history. They were also more likely to have a higher stress symptom score (an evaluation based on worry, impatience, anger and other symptoms) than men without a family history of heart disease — suggesting that the propensity to get stressed may be, to some degree, inherited.

“Depression and stress are known risk factors for heart disease, and they both have strong heritability,” lead author Mark W. Ketterer, Ph.D., of Henry Ford Hospital’s Department of Behavioral Health, said in a press release. “None of the other risk factors, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes, were shown to have a significant familial link in this group. Therefore, it’s likely that men who have an early onset of heart disease might have a genetic predisposition to stress, which causes the heart disease.”

  1.  Accelerates Prostate Cancer Development.

Chronic stress can accelerate the development of prostate cancer, suggesting that prostate cancer patients could benefit from stress reduction as part of their treatment.

  1.  Erectile Dysfunction.

According to WebMD, 10 to 20 percent of all cases of erectile dysfunction (ED) are linked to psychological factors like stress, anxiety and depression.  Normal erectile function depends on proper functioning of the parasympathetic nervous system (also known as the “relax and renew” system) — but when we’re stressed, we’re operating from the sympathetic nervous system (associated with the fight or flight response).

Men may experience trouble getting an erection, or have difficulty maintaining one.

  1. Lower Sperm Count.

Stress and anxiety could play a large role in male fertility.  Recent studies conducted in Italy, as reported by Reuters Health, found that men who were stressed ejaculated less and had a lower sperm count and concentration than those who were not under stress. Stress was also positively correlated with deformed and less mobile sperm.

  1. Social Withdrawal.

A 2010 University of Southern California study found that men who are stressed out exhibit less activity in the brain regions associated with understanding others’ feelings. When placed under acute stress, the men had less of a brain response to facial expressions, especially fear and anger, whereas women had greater activity in these brain regions.  Under stress, men tend to withdraw socially, while women seek emotional support.  Social withdrawal is both a symptom of and can lead to depression and yes, more anxiety and stress.

How do you know when you’re too stressed?

Stress does have unique effects on men vs. women.  So, how do we know how much stress is too much? Burnout refers to stress reaching such high levels that it interferes with your ability to function normally. The following are typical signs that you may be developing burnout:

  • Having difficulty making decisions, or frequently doubting yourself
  • Finding it hard to remember things
  • Procrastinating
  • Experiencing an increase in negative thinking
  • Avoiding certain people or phone calls, or withdrawing from family, friends or coworkers
  • Being late for or absent from work more often than usual
  • Having difficulty sleeping
  • Feeling overwhelmed, confused, angry, anxious, depressed, impatient, inadequate, or crying a lot
  • Having difficulty controlling your temper
  • Increased physical problems such as high blood pressure, constant colds or infections, or digestive problems
  • Increased use of alcohol or other mood altering chemicals

 What can I do to deal with my stress more effectively?

Your stress level is affected by the number and severity of the stressors you have as well as how you respond to them. People who feel the healthiest usually have a variety of tools they use to deal with stress. Having a set of stress reducing beliefs can be particularly helpful in dealing with stress. Examples of these would include:

  • Stress is not good or bad, it’s just a part of life.
  • I will choose how I want to deal with stress.
  • I will use the support of others to help me deal with stressors.
  • Stress is normal and nothing to be ashamed of.
  • I will only focus on what I have control over.
  • I will take things one day at a time.

There are many other things which, when done regularly, are very effective at preventing and reducing stress. These include:

  • Eating regular and balanced meals
  • Aerobic exercise
  • Deep breathing
  • Having fun
  • Being creative
  • Yoga or meditation
  • Volunteer work

There are also certain things that increase stress, so consequently you may want to avoid them:

  • Heavy drinking and drug use
  • Over or under spending
  • Isolating yourself from others
  • Caring for everyone except yourself
  • Over or under eating
  • Overworking

When to seek professional help…

Sometimes intense stress can go on for too long or become too difficult to deal with on your own. Chronic or traumatic stress can lead to depression, anxiety, and overall burnout. When this occurs, reaching out for professional assistance is beneficial. EAP counselors through Ulliance are trained to help you assess your current situation and begin to develop a plan to reduce your stress. If you are an Ulliance Life Advisor EAP-eligible employee or family member and would like further information about how to manage your stress, call 1-800-448-8326.


May 28 / Lea Madjoff

Want to curb your sugar consumption? Find out where sugar is hiding!

Original Source:  Sugar, Where Are You Hiding? By Bruce Y Lee

This article was featured in Wellness Wednesday from Ulliance
Blog Post 5-28-2015
You don’t always see something until you look for it. Branches hanging over sidewalks and holes in my clothes have taught me this lesson. And now sugar has.

The recently released “Curbing Global Sugar Consumption” report from the World Cancer Research Fund International highlighted the overconsumption of sugar around the world. Just like reality television, sugar is relatively cheap to produce and keeps people entertained. But also like reality television, it can be difficult to avoid consuming sugar, and over consuming sugar can be very bad for you. Sugar overconsumption can lead to obesity and all the health problems associated with obesity.

The report highlighted policies that can curb sugar consumption, including raising awareness of sugar in products. You may already know that many beverages can be loaded with sugar. In case, you don’t know or recall, take a look at the left photo.

In the photo, the plastic bag next to each drink is the amount of sugar in that drink. And of course, sugar lives in candies, jellies, jams, cookies, cakes, cupcakes, muffins, and other baked goods. But sugar can hide in many other places less obvious. Experts compiled the following 10 ways that sugar tends to hide in what we eat and drink.

  1. It’s in the label. Do fashion labels matter to you? Would you recognize the difference between a Rolex and a Relax watch? Do you pay as much attention to food labels? Take a closer look at the sugar content in the labels of foods that you eat. You may be quite surprised…
  2. Sugar by any other name…However, these days you may need a thesaurus when reading a label. Have you ever run into someone who changes his or her name to change his or her image, but really remains the same person? That’s sugar. Sugar can go by many different names:
Brown Sugar Corn Syrup Demerara Sugar Dextrose Free Flowing Brown Sugars
Fructose Galactose Glucose High Fructose Corn Syrup Honey
Invert Sugar Lactose Malt Maltodextrin Maltose
Maple Syrup Molasses Muscovado  Sugar Barbabdos Sugar Panocha
Powdered Sugar Confectioner’s Sugar Rice Syrup Sucrose Sugar (granulated)
Treacle Turbinado Sugar      

In the end, these are all sugars. Of course, not all of these different types of “sugars” are exactly the same… and may have different impact. But if you want to substantially reduce your sugar intake, don’t think that just “substituting” sugar with maltose or brown rice syrup will do it.

And be careful about anything that’s been “sweetened,” such as sweetened yogurt. While treating a person well can make you seem sweet, it is not necessarily the same with food.

  1. Don’t be saucy. Saucy can work if you are celebrity but is not always good for food. Sauces frequently have lots of calories, salt, and… you guessed it… sugar. Even sauces that don’t taste sweet can be loaded with sugar. Have you checked out how much sugar is in spaghetti sauce? Just as Superman and Supergirl act differently when they are in their civilian alter ego garbs versus their hero costumes, a food drenched in a sauce acts like the sauce. You don’t always realize how much sauce you are actually eating. For example, the only way a friend of mine would eat vegetables would be to drench them in sauce so that he could no longer taste their original taste and texture.

Any liquid substance that you pour on food to change its taste is in effect a “sauce” and can have lots o’ sugar. These include ketchup, salsa, and salad dressings.  If you want to cut down on sugar, either forego sauces or make “sauces” from items that do not have added sugar such as plain tomatoes.

  1. Dairy to be different.  Lactose intolerant and feel like the Goodyear blimp after you eat some dairy products? Perhaps you have used non-dairy substitutes to escape the lactose. Be careful, though. Many dairy substitutes such as soy, almond, and coconut milk can be loaded with sugar.
  2. Bread the wrong way. Bread, bagels, English muffins, and many other bread-like substances can have quite a lot of sugar, corn syrup, or the equivalent.
  3. Are you cereal? Cereal doesn’t have to be kids’ cereal to have a lot of sugar. Many seemingly healthy “adult” cereals have added sugar or syrup.
  4. Meating some sugar. Are you a meatasaurus who thinks that eating mainly meat will keep you away from sugar? Not necessarily. Many luncheon meats can be infused with sugar, and barbeque sauce can make you a sugarsaurus.
  5. You never know what happens in the can. Many things in a can (e.g., canned vegetables and fruits), a box (e.g., granola, popcorn, flavored oatmeal, crackers, and frozen pizza), or bag (e.g., trail mix or chips) are not alone and room quite closely with sugar or the equivalent.
  6. How much did you drink? Beverages can be a deceptive source of sugar. Sodas certainly. But so can juices, vitamin water, and sports and energy drinks. Coffee and tea can also have sugar with them.
  7. What a jerkie. Many dried foods such as beef jerky, trail mix, and dried fruit can be sugar sources.

So sugar is all around us. Completely avoiding sugar is quite difficult… unless you don’t eat… which would cause other problems. But being more conscious of what you eat to cut down sugar intake (especially the hidden sugar intake) is quite possible. Just keep your eyes open for sugar… and low-hanging branches…

May 14 / Lea Madjoff

Want to heal your stress? Try these five tips from Mom.

This article was provided by Ulliance and was featured in their Wellness Wednesdays Email Blast.

The original source is from the  5 Tips From Mom That Will Help You Manage Stress by Terri Trespicio

Mother’s Day rightly brings with it a lot of flowers, candy, handBlog FB & Twitter 5-14-15made cards, and commercials starring well-scrubbed, radiant moms looking adoringly at their kids. This is all lovely and good, but it’s not the full picture of motherhood, is it?

The other side of the coin is the go-clean-your-room, do-your-homework, eat-your veggies mothering. The part of motherhood that pushes you to do things that you might not want to do, but that she knows is better for you. It’s this unyielding authority that insists you do better, be better, try harder. You know she’s right, and you love her for it, even if you don’t always love her the moment she says it.

These days you may not have anyone who both nurtures and nags you like your own mother (maybe you miss it, or maybe she still does it!), but that’s exactly the combination you need as you work to manage your stress and boost your health. In other words, you need to be your own mom, and heal your own stress in the process. Here’s how.

Practice patience. Self-improvement is hard enough as it is; it doesn’t need to come from a punishing or judgmental place. Imagine a mom at bath time, watching her toddler try, over and over again, to pour water from one measuring cup into another, and missing, again and again. She watches, patiently and with calm presence, fully believing in her child’s ability to learn and grow over time. She wipes up spilled water, hands the measuring cup back to the kid when he drops it, and laughs with delight when he manages the feat.

Celebrate small successes. Your milestones may not be as awesome as a kid’s first step or first bike ride without training wheels, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t raise the roof when you do achieve. I know, it’s terribly easy to blow past successes; there’s always another mountain to climb. Make it second nature to stop and be thrilled with yourself–you’ll boost and reinforce your own confidence.

Do it because I said so. Mom didn’t need a better excuse than that, and neither do you. Tempted to ditch cycling? Nope. You signed up for class, you show up for class. Want to eat a cupcake for lunch instead of some greens? Not on my watch. Want to snap at a co-worker just because you’re feeling frustrated? You know better than to take your stress out on someone who works just as hard as you do. When you feel yourself giving in to a whiny inner child, call on that simple reason and use it to do what you know is better for you, your health, and your relationships.

Make it a habit. You know mom’s habits a little too well. Because she did the same thing and maybe still does it–for decades on end. Whether it’s the way she does her hair or makes tea. Take a cue from mom and apply habitual behavior to your own self-care. No way you’re rushing mom through her bath, right? Block out time in your schedule–even ten minutes works–for an activity that makes you feel happy, or safe, or confident, and stick by it.

Adopt a mom-like slogan. “Could be worse.” “Early bird gets the worm.” “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Oy, our mothers with their clichéd, go-to sayings. And yet they function as a kind of self-strengthening shorthand for parents–and for you as you parent your stressful self. So do that for yourself. Give yourself a hokey mantra to counteract the urge to eat more cookies, watch more TV, pick another fight (and use it often!).

Every mother knows what it is to feel out of energy and patience. But a mother never runs out of love; it’s self-replenishing. This week, treat yourself to that same patience and support, the kind you have shown to your own friends and family, to help you ease the negative effects of stress.  Celebrate the mom (or mom-like people) in your life, and all the wisdom that she handed down to you. And while you’re at it, put yourself to some use, would you, and take the garbage out.  5 Tips From Mom That Will Help You Manage Stress by Terri Trespicio

Apr 8 / Lea Madjoff

Taking a positive perspective on your day

Blog Post 4-8-15Original Source:  7 Questions You Should Ask Yourself At The End of Each Day by Lindsay Holmes

This article was featured in Wellness Wednesday from Ulliance

Each day we have tons of inquiries — for our co-workers, our friends, our families. But do we ever ask ourselves any questions? If we don’t, we may be framing our own mindsets through someone else’s lens. Below are seven questions that will not only help you take a positive perspective on your day, but set up tomorrow for greater success.

What did I learn today?
Just because we’re no longer in school doesn’t mean we have to stop gaining insight about the world around us. In fact, research suggests a constant pursuit of new information as we grow older may contribute to more well-being. It doesn’t matter if it’s a few words in a new language or how to use the copier at work — end each day with more knowledge than the day before.

How do I feel?
We should always prioritize our mental health. Your emotional wellness is just as crucial as your physical wellness, despite what the stigma around mental illnesses may have you believe.  Unfortunately, in health care, we tend to split the mind and body sometimes, but the two actually work in tandem. Pay attention to shifts in your thoughts and feelings, for if they go unresolved it could start affecting your behavior.

How did I make others feel?
How you treat someone else says a lot about who you are. Approaching someone with compassion, authenticity and kindness can go a long way. In fact, research suggests that extending generosity to others not only improves their lives, but increases our well-being also.

What can I do better tomorrow?
No one is perfect. We’re constantly making tiny errors or massive mistakes — but we’re still here. It’s important to acknowledge your speed bumps, but set goals for yourself in the future. In other words, we need to make friends with failure.

Failures … provide us clarity. Initially, when something doesn’t work out, we tend to sulk on how bad the situation is and how we completely screwed up. When the dust settles and we can shift our focus to the pros and cons of the experience, clarity brings perspective. It allows us to view what went wrong and instantaneously we look to the next venture aware of past mistakes or reflecting back on the previous experience.

What am I grateful for?
Gratitude isn’t just some vague, spiritual concept that only works if you believe it does — there’s actual science behind practicing a little thankfulness. Studies show writing down what you’re grateful for can lead to stronger relationships, better sleep and increased happiness.

How much stress did I experience?
Burnout is a silent killer when it comes to our productivity and happiness. If we just roll through the motions each day without taking a critical look at our lives, we may not realize how exhausted we really are until it’s too late.  We need to check in with ourselves as often as we do with our phone’s batteries:

We have a million ways to recharge our phones, portable chargers, cables, extra battery packs, but look at how we treat ourselves. Our own energy has to be below 5% before we figure out that we need to sleep, to recharge, to take a break. That has to change.

What made me smile?
Because everyone deserves to end their day on a happy note. Just think of how much better you’ll sleep if you go to bed with more jubilant thoughts.  7 Questions You Should Ask Yourself At The End Of Each Day by Lindsay Holmes


Apr 1 / Lea Madjoff

Spring Clean Your Kitchen

Blog Post 4-1-2015Original Source:  How to Spring Clean Your Kitchen (And Your Diet) by Laurel Leicht

This article was featured in Wellness Wednesday from Ulliance

Even if you haven’t been indulging in rich, comforting meals all winter, chances are you’ve accumulated more unhealthy foods in your freezer, fridge and cupboard than you realize. To start off the new season on the right foot, a little spring cleaning for your food supply might be in order.

Declutter Your Freezer

If you throw foods in the freezer and forget about them, it’s time to clear out the old build up. Get rid of all the items with ice crystals forming on the food or the packaging.  Anything with freezer burn will taste worse, but it also often means that the nutrients are lost from foods, especially produce.

Keep some uncooked protein, like lean beef and chicken; it’s good for up to nine months once frozen, and can help you skip a midweek trip to the grocery store. Fill the rest of your freezer with bags of frozen berries and peaches (to throw in smoothies, yogurt and hot cereals) and vegetables like peas, spinach and broccoli (to add to soups and increase the nutrition of takeout dishes). Want to keep a few microwavable meals on hand for times you need a quick fix? Look for options with fewer than 400 calories and 400 mg of sodium.

Lighten Up Your Fridge

Even with tons of frozen fruits and veggies in your freezer, you’ll want some fresh varieties as well. Aim for foods that will keep for several days in the fridge, such as apples, oranges, cauliflower and cabbage.  Don’t cut up anything or wash produce when you bring it home from the store.  You might think you’re saving time, but it will make everything go bad much sooner.  To make these items more convenient for packed lunches or snacks, prepare them only the night before you’ll be consuming them.

Swap out creamy condiments like salad dressings, mayo and sour cream for mustards, Greek yogurt or olive oil with balsamic vinegar or lemon juice. And always have a carton of eggs for quick-cooking protein that goes well with any meal or snack.

Clean Your Cupboard

There’s more to junk food than potato chips. Toss items packed with sugar, sodium and preservatives, such as pretzels and most granola bars and energy bars.  Many of these really aren’t any better for you than a candy bar.  Instead, reach for options like air-popped popcorn (you can munch on three cups of it for only 100 calories) and pistachios — they’re only about three calories apiece, and shelling them slows down your eating, encouraging you to consume less.

Trade in high-sugar cereals — and keep in mind that even healthy-seeming choices like granola and gluten-free options can fall into this category — for oatmeal flavored with cinnamon and fruit. Load up on whole grains like quinoa, brown rice and wheat pasta; low-sodium beans for a punch of protein and fiber; and cans of fatty fish like tuna, sardines and salmon to get those omega-3s.

Put Everything In Its Place

To ensure your healthy habits stick, it’s important to put some thought into the way you store your foods.  From the pantry to the fridge, place the nutrient-dense items at eye level, front and center, and put any treats in the back.  That way, you have to really dig for the less healthy items.  And make sure that everything is in the correct place to stay at its peak freshness.  Most people know that olive oil is packed with powerful phytonutrients and antioxidants.  What you might not be aware of is that those antioxidants convert to pro-oxidants when the oil exposed to heat over a prolonged period of time — which means consuming it can actually damage your body.  Try refrigerating olive oil as soon as you get home. Same thing goes for anything containing healthy fats, such as nuts, nut butters and fish oil in any form.

Stocking your kitchen with nutritious choices is the first step to healthy eating — and arranging your storage areas in a way that encourages you to reach for them ensures the kickoff to a slim new season.

Mar 6 / Lea Madjoff

7 Ways to Stop Doing and Start Being by Estelle Williams

Original Source:  7 Ways to Stop Doing and Start Being by Estelle Williams

This article was featured in Wellness Wednesday from Ulliance

FB Post 3-6-2015There is madness in men and women today and it’s spilling over to our children too. This madness is our constant need for change – with our relationships, our jobs, our possessions, our education, and our status in life. Striving for something better and never resting until that something is achieved is a modern disease. Competitiveness causes anxiety and stress, ensuring we constantly perceive a state of lack within ourselves and are never satisfied.

We are constantly doing, but what if instead we chose to be?

Being vs. Doing

Being is a sense of feeling present to exactly who you are in this moment, rather than doing something to try and make improvements because you perceive yourself or your life as imperfect. It may seem hard at first to make the switch, but the rewards will far outweigh the effort required.

Here are seven ways that you can start being today:

  1. Decide what is most important to you.
    Do you live life according to the plans or expectations of others? It might be your parents who decided what path your life should take, or it may be your culture’s expectations that you feel obligated to live up to.

In order to truly live your being-ness, you need to decide what is most important to you in life and take steps to honor those things. Along with that comes no longer doing the things you think you should do.

In this way, you are acting more in alignment with who you are, with your being-ness and not doing what conflicts with your highest values.

  1. Choose to be happy in each moment.
    Many people believe happiness is something that comes from external sources — a job or career, upbringing, finances or partner. I disagree. Happiness is a choice that comes from within. It is a decision you can make from moment to moment. This is living truly from a sense of Being.

If you expect happiness to be delivered to you by others or an act of serendipity, you’ll find yourself pretty unhappy when those expectations are not met. What can you find in this moment to be happy about?

  1. Honor your strengths.
    When you are living your life focusing on your strengths, you are living in being. What you are good at — your strengths — comes naturally to you. The activities you struggle to grasp or never really achieve mastery of are examples of doing that just don’t work. Stop telling yourself that you need to be good at everything and focus instead on what lights you up.
  2. Reside in the present with an open heart. When you are present to each moment in your waking life with an open heart, you notice the colors, smells, textures and other nuances of life that you would otherwise miss if you were busy worrying about the future.

When you move your focus from your head to your heart, you open up a whole new way of Being that is centered in love, enjoyment, forgiveness and understanding.

  1. Stop beating yourself up over past mistakes.
    The past is in the past and that’s where it needs to remain. There is no value in regret, guilt or shame. Acknowledge that whatever happened is over. Reliving past events and beating yourself up does nothing but bring those problems into the present, keeping the energy of them alive. Similarly, if you believe your best times were in the past, you need to let that belief go. Give yourself permission to create new adventures and achievements from a sense of Being vital and alive.
  2. Let the being be the doing.
    When you come from a place of being and you bring your awareness to every possible moment, then whatever activity you are engaged in will be infused with presence and will not be resisted. Resistance to the present moment is what causes anxiety, sadness, anger and despair.

Really practice being present to whatever you’re doing. The easiest way to feel present is practicing meditation, but it’s not the only path to presence. If you’re sitting, enjoy the feeling of inactivity and your body in repose. If you’re running, connect with the feeling of your feet hitting the pavement, your muscles propelling you forward, the air in your lungs and the scenery around you as you pass.

Notice your body and what is around you and you’ll be surprised by how peaceful you begin to feel without the constant noise of your problems and mind chatter. Life itself becomes a meditation.

  1. Take inspired action.
    Once you’ve become practiced at just being, then you can start taking inspired action. Inspired action is when your intuition sends you a message to act. Oftentimes inspired action comes to you as a random thought that feels like it came out of nowhere. You’ll start to notice what feels right and be naturally drawn to take those actions. When you learn to trust yourself and take inspired actions that naturally feel good, you will experience more success than you ever have before, and it will also feel better. It’s a win-win.

If you focus on just one of the above steps towards Being each day, in a short space of time you will put an end to the Doing madness and find yourself on the path to consistent happiness and fulfillment.